the sikes magnolia…

A few weeks ago, I finally took myself over to Sikes Hall, because I had seen a very large magnolia tree, with branches all the way to the ground. Completely exposed to the sun, as it wasn’t shadowed by any buildings, it was completely covered in flowers. DSC_0533

DSC_0535If you’re unfamiliar with the Southern Magnolia, the trees are huge, both in height and width of the branches (oh, not compared to a redwood, but please don’t argue with me!). Sometimes, people will chop the ground level branches off, if it’s in their front yard, but mostly the branches go straight to the ground. Makes them great climbing trees. But up close, in some of these pictures, it may just resemble a big bush. So, I’ve tried very hard to give an idea of up close AND further back.DSC_0534DSC_0536It didn’t take me long to find some absolutely beautiful blooms on this one! My only objection to traipsing around that tree was that I kept walking into spiderwebs… but such is life.DSC_0538

DSC_0537DSC_0541Some of the best blossoms were almost on the ground, as this magnolia’s branches draped all the way to “floor level”. Actually, its bottom branches have been lopped off, as well as those from two sides of the tree. I wonder why? But still, the bottom-most branches still draped to the ground, anyway, creating this odd pattern of bare-sided tree. Ok, bare-sided, once you’re almost under the branches.DSC_0539

DSC_0542DSC_0543As you can see, quite a few were past the flower stage, and on the way to developing the fruit of the tree, with seeds to scatter. If I remember correctly, their seeds are red, and quite beautiful.DSC_0547DSC_0544One of my favorites had its petals winding around, almost into a spiral. I tried to put it into black-and-white, for contrast, but the photo is actually too bright, and the lines not sharp enough. Sigh. I’m working on this, still.Another reminder of size, in case you’ve never seen one… the petals on each flower are about the size of my hand, perhaps bigger. Also, the leaves are even bigger, and very glossy. No wonder that lizard had no trouble walking between petal and flowers, the other week. The petals and leaves are quite sturdy and “thick”, compared to the leaves on most trees.DSC_0548

DSC_0558Thumbelina could easily live in this type of tree, and never break through leaf or petal, if she jumped up and down!DSC_0549DSC_0551So, as magnolia season is close to ending, this is what I came up with on one sunny afternoon, on the Clemson University campus. Hope you enjoyed the trip.  : )DSC_0560DSC_0553

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